Skyline girls golf team finds silver lining in loss to Redmond

April 24, 2012

By Lillian O'Rorke

While it was not a winning day for Skyline High School’s girls golf team, or the weather, last week it was a victory for Layla Hiramoto.

Ignoring the rain that poured down on her and everyone else playing the 2,731-yard course at the Bear Creek Country Club in Woodinville on April 19, Hiramoto shot a 53. With an improvement of six shots, the No. 5 varsity golfer earned her season best and the top score of the day for Skyline.

“It took a lot of mental toughness to play well in that weather,” Skyline’s head coach Erik Hanson said. “She got it done. She looked beyond the weather and didn’t make excuses.”

Hanson was thrilled. Hiramoto had been struggling with her putting, he said, so much that in one match she used two different putters.

“For me, as a coach, I am always happy to see a kid work to improve their weakness,” he said.

For the rest of the Spartans it was not a day of personal bests. Instead, several players struggled in the wetness and ended the match several strokes ahead of where they usually play. The final team score of 289 was good news for Redmond’s girls varsity team, which totaled 228 strokes to continue its 10-year winning streak.

“It was not my best,” said Brya Vowels, who holds the varsity No. 1 spot for Skyline. She shot a 61 that day. “Bear Creek is always a hard course, and the weather we were dealing with is not ideal. If you’ve played there a bunch then you get the hang of it, but Redmond’s team is really good about telling us about the tricky spots.”

Much like Skyline’s home course at The Plateau Club, the holes at Bear Creek are isolated, bordered with homes and hazards, which leaves little room for error. Courses like Skyline’s and Redmond’s, with their unexpected challenges, give the home team an advantage. But Hanson said he also was pleased at how generous Redmond’s players were with warnings about hazards to avoid.

“It is kind of neat that your opposing players are telling you about where you should be,” Hanson said. “Eastlake, Redmond and Skyline all have really wonderful courses … We are totally lucky.”

One thing about Bear Creek that did play to Vowels’ strengths was long greens. Usually, she said, her weakest part is her short game. But as her strokes to get to the green increased, her short game compensated.

“I was able to do a bump-and-run chip where the balls run more, which I know my coach was happy I used because we’ve been working on it,” Vowels said. “It was fun. I definitely like the challenge. I would love to go back and play it again, now that I know what I’m up against.”

Skyline’s Shirley Chung finished with a 57; Melanie Busch shot a 58; and Emma Farno finished with a 61. Reaching three greens in regulation, Marie Guenette broke 60 for the third time in a row with her finish of 58.

Skyline is set to take on rival Issaquah at 3 p.m. April 30 at Snoqualmie Golf Course.

Lillian Tucker: 392-6434, ext. 242, or Comment at

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